Are you the type of guy that buys your wife a half a dozen wilted red roses from the gas station around the corner from your house while fervently calling all the restaurants in town to get a reservation on your anniversary day? The kind of Santa that pays no attention to the calendar until December 24th and all your loved ones end up with dollar store dog toys and gift cards from Walgreens as presents. If so, when you signed onto Facebook this morning and found out that today was National IPA day, you most likely panicked and began to scour the interwebs for a place to celebrate this most hallowed day. Have no fear my procrastinating hop heads, The Blue Collar Foodie here. The following is the Top 5 Blue Collar Foodie approved craft beer bars to wet your whistle on this hop filled holiday!
5: Andy’s Corner: If you are looking for a low key neighborhood bar that serves nothing but the best beer this world has to offer, look no further than Andy’s corner. Not only is their draft menu constantly rotating, they have refrigerators full of bottled hoptastic perfection that is sure to please. Furthermore, the proprietor, George, is the type of bartender that has long since gone the way of the dinosaur, beepers, and Blockbusters. He not only is personable and friendly, he has more beer knowledge in his pinky toe than most pompous cicerones have in their entire bulbous craniums, yet is humble unlike those D-bags. Although there is no true IPA Day event at Andy’s tonight, I assure you, if you go see George he will point you in the direction of some beers that are just perfect for the evening’s festivities.
Andy’s Corner Bar: A World of Beer, Just a Corner Away
257 Queen Anne Road
Bogota, NJ 07603
4: The Shepherd & The Knucklehead: A long time ago when I was just a naïve college student shot gunning PBRs, I thought nothing about the quality of beer and food that I ingested. That is of course until this Knucklehead met the Shepherd. If I had to pin point the moment that I realized that I had an affinity for craft beer which in turn gave birth to my passion for all things gastronomic, I would have to say that it was the moment that The Shepherd & The Knucklehead became my Cheers. Although I am not there as much as I would like to be anymore, the years I spent at this now even more epic craft beer bar shaped and honed my palate in a way that I could never have envisioned. The Shepherd & The Knucklehead now features 90 taps and serves classic and creative pub food to boot. Much like Andy’s Corner there is no IPA Day event scheduled for this evening but I can attest that at the Shep it is IPA day, every day!
The Shepherd & The Knucklehead: Where we celebrate the Duality in Man
529 Belmont Avenue
Haledon, New Jersey 07508
(973) 942-8666 *after 4:00 PM*
3: The Twisted Elm Tavern: This North Jersey Gastropub exploded onto both the foodie scene and the beer scene in 2011 and has not looked back since. The Twisted Elm features an ever changing remarkable beer menu that will satisfy even the most refined beer aficionado’s palate. However, the Twisted Elm doesn’t just have beer; they combine their impressive craft beer list with foodie fare that is prepared by an award winning chef and an outstanding staff that makes you feel as if you are one of the family. This truthfully is my favorite bar in North Jersey and a spot-on representation of what a Gastropub should be. There may not be an IPA event scheduled for tonight but never the less The Twisted Elm Tavern makes the list because there is no place I would rather be on a Thursday night.
The Twisted Elm: A New Jersey Gastropub
435 River Drive
Elmwood Park, NJ, 07407
2: The Cloverleaf Tavern: When it comes to craft beer bars there are only a few bars in North Jersey that are on the level of The Cloverleaf Tavern. Not only do they have one of the most notable beer lists in the state, their food is stupid good. They also love to celebrate beer centric holidays like St. Patrick’s Day and of course National IPA Day. Tonight the Cloverleaf is celebrating by having an IPA showdown of East Vs. Midwest by offering Kane Head High and Founder All-Day IPA drafts for only $3.50. To add to the appeal of this event, if either of those brews don’t make you more excited than Bill Clinton snorting Viagra at the Bunny Ranch, they are also damn near giving Dogfish 90 minute away for $4.50. If you are looking to pair some of the best IPAs in the land with foodie fare that is off the hook, look no further than The Cloverleaf Tavern tonight.
The Cloverleaf Tavern: Where Good Friends Meet
395 Bloomfield Ave.
Caldwell, NJ 07006
1: Morris Tap and Grill: Where is The Blue Collar Foodie going to celebrate the most sacred American beer holiday of the year you ask? I have to admit it was a very difficult decision, but after careful consideration the Morris Tap and Grill was the clear winner. Their beer list for tonight has an average Ratebeer rating of 96.91 and is the most serious IPA selection that I have ever seen compiled under one roof. With selections from Stone, Kane, Carton, Elysian, Founders, and Dogfish Head to name a few, my biggest problem is going to be that I am going to want to try them all. On top of their incredible beer list, Chef Eric Levine, a freaking Chopped Champion by the way, will be on hand to create his awe inspiring, drool invoking, culinary creations as usual. Morris Tap and Grill may be somewhat of a drive for this foodie, but every mile is worth it, and I am super excited to spending my IPA day with the cast and crew of this praise worthy establishment!
Morris Tap and Grill: The MTG
500 Route 10 West
Whether or not you decide to take one of my suggestions and venture to these spectacular craft beer bars to celebrate IPA Day 2013 is up to you. I do however ask that all of you drink responsibly tonight or ask one of your hoighty-toighty wine drinking friends to be a designated driver. Have fun and Hoppy Holidays to one and all from The Blue Collar Foodie!